Australia and New Zealand

Tour Highlights

On this combination tour of incredible Australia and New Zealand we will experience the best these countries “down under” have to offer.  
Home to some of the world’s most dramatic sights, both    island nations offer an amazing variety of landscapes, historic sites and natural attractions. Whereas Australia is ruled by an interior desert and vast coastline, New Zealand is rich in waterfalls, towering mountain ranges, dense green jungle and geological wonders.  

We first visit Australia, and begin in Sydney where we will enjoy a city tour featuring the iconic Opera House and take a delightful harbour cruise. Then we head for the Great Barrier Reef in tropical Cairns, where we take a catamaran cruise to the most spectacular sections of the reef, enjoy a scenic train journey through the tablelands to Kuranda and visit a rainforest and Koala Wildlife Park. in Australia's 'red centre' we see the magical monolith of Uluru (Ayers Rock) and learn about the outback in Alice Springs. 

We then head to New Zealand, a breathtaking and diverse land of jagged mountains, rolling pastures, steep fjords and pristine lakes.  We start with Auckland on the North Island (New Zealand’s biggest city), known as “The City of Sails” with more sailboats per capita than anywhere else in the world. We will marvel at the glow worms of Ruakuri Caves, enjoy a special BBQ lunch, explore the bubbling mud pools of Rotorua and learn of the Maori legends and traditions during a performance and typical “hangi” feast. No visit to New Zealand would be complete without enjoying a sheep shearing demonstration and the chance to watch the remarkable sheep dog trials, which we will see before flying to the South Island. Here we visit Queenstown, one of the most beautiful towns in New Zealand. With its waterfront promenade surrounded by mountains, it looks like an impressive picture postcard! We will take an evening cruise from this scenic spot to the elegant Walter Peak Sheep Station, join an awe-inspiring cruise in spectacular Milford Sound and visit charming Dunedin to see historic Larnach Castle.

Join us on this carefully planned tour for a “trip of a lifetime” to this unique part of the world.

*** This tour is suitable only for the fit and active traveller.

Tentative Itinerary

We depart for Sydney, via Vancouver.
We arrive in Sydney and proceed to our hotel. After a rest we proceed on our city tour, and see the Rocks area (Sydney's birthplace), the magnificent Opera House, Chinatown, beautiful South Head where the harbour meets the Pacific, and “Mrs. Macquarie's Chair” for spectacular views of the city and harbour. Tonight is our Welcome Dinner.
We travel to the Blue Mountains, named for their distinctive blue haze. En route we will stop at Featherdale Wildlife Park to view koalas, kangaroos, wallabies, wombats and fairy penguins. Then we’ll continue along the trail of Australia's early explorers into Blue Mountains National Park - a spectacular and diverse wilderness park. At Echo Point we’ll view the famous "Three Sisters".
At leisure to explore on your own. Perhaps take the ferry to Taronga Zoo or enjoy a stroll on the harbourfront.
We fly to tropical Cairns, located in beautiful coastal Trinity Bay surrounded by rainforest topped hills.
We set sail on a catamaran to see one of the most spectacular sections of the Great Barrier Reef. There will be time for swimming, snorkeling and viewing the vibrant sea-life and coral canyons. For those who wish to stay dry, a semi-submersible tour option is available. A delicious buffet lunch is served onboard.
A scenic rail tour through the amazing Atherton Tablelands to Kuranda, known for its lush tropical trees and flowers. We’ll visit the rainforest and Koala Wildlife Park, enjoy a ride on an “army duck” vehicle and a “Dreamtime Walk” with aboriginal people. Lunch and a Pamagirri dance performance are included before we board the Skyrail for a delightful cable car ride over the rainforest canopy.
We fly to the world's greatest monolith - Ayers Rock (the “Red Heart of Australia”). We first venture into the Outback to see The Olgas - a jumble of 30 impressive monoliths across the red desert plain. This evening we’ll dine in the desert, for a brilliant sunset and fine Outback cuisine.
An early morning call is available to view the sunrise on Ayers Rock. We then enjoy a walk around the base of the rock, before driving to Alice Springs.
Alice Springs was originally a telegraph station linking Australia to the rest of the world. Today it is the base for the Outback ranches. We visit the Royal Flying Doctor centre, enjoy the view from Anzac Hill, and see the Telegraph Station, before flying to Auckland, New Zealand.
A full-day tour of Auckland, including a visit to the dramatically beautiful Waitakere Ranges where the shoreline is dotted with black sand beaches and protected by soaring cliffs. Later we visit the Auckland War Memorial Museum - the spiritual touchstone for all New Zealanders.
We first visit the magical Waitomo Glow Worm Caves for a subterranean tour. Our guide will show us glow worms, elaborate caves and underground rivers, and will discuss legends and sacred Maori sites. After a country-style BBQ lunch at a local farm, we proceed to Rotorua.
We visit the Agrodome Farm Show, complete with sheep shearing and sheep dog trials. We then proceed to Te Puia Thermal Reserve, where geysers, bubbling mud pools, hot mineral springs, glittering silica terraces in enchanting formations and richly coloured craters make this a world famous attraction. Tonight we enjoy a hangi - a traditional Maori feast prepared in pits the way their forefathers did centuries ago, with traditional Maori music and war dances.
We fly to beautiful Queenstown on the South Island - the "Adventure Capital of New Zealand".
Our tour of the area includes a visit of the Kiwi Birdlife Park to see many of New Zealand’s rarest and most endangered birds and reptiles. This evening we enjoy a scenic cruise on the TSS Earnslaw to the Walter Peak Sheep Station for an elegant dinner, followed by a sheep shearing and herding demonstration. The gift shop offers fine woollen goods.
We take a spectacular cruise in Milford Sound where we can view Mitre Peak, Sterling Falls and the steep rock walls that rise thousands of feet against a backdrop of towering mountains. A smorgasbord lunch is served onboard. We continue to Te Anau.
Today we cross the Southern Alps via Haast Pass and continue past lakes, rainforests and rocky headlands to the Glacier town of Franz Josef.
Our journey aboard the TranzAlpine Rail is a spectacular trip along scenic river valleys, through the Canterbury Plains and the majestic Southern Alps. We end in Christchurch for a 2-night stay.
We first visit Quake City, and hear stories of heroism and loss during the Canterbury earthquakes. Then we visit the Antarctic Centre, which recreates the environment of Antarctica and provides an interactive experience. Our Farewell dinner is at Christchurch's restored heritage trams, which loop around the city taking in the sites.
We fly home via Auckland and Los Angeles.

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